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I’m not what you would call a “leisure” traveler. Most of my vacations involve a tent, a forest, a remote location and very sore feet after multiple grueling hikes. But while staying at The Sian Kaan at Grand Tulum, in Tulum, Mexico, I gladly donned flip-flops, put down my backpack and picked up a tropical drink.
The recently debuted luxury resort-within-a-resort concept from Oasis Hotels & Resorts, located next to Grand Oasis Tulum in Akumal, offers an elevated all-inclusive stay for clients used to pampering — and even for relaxation-challenged ones like me.
Even at first glance, the 76-room Sian Kaan — Mayan for “heaven’s door” or “where the sky begins” — provides a cheery, peaceful aesthetic. Outside, the resort’s white buildings pop against the bright-blue sky, turquoise waters and brilliant greenery, and decor is simple and elegant. Inside, a contemporary lobby features orange accents against a monochrome palette.
The multimillion-dollar project renovated existing structures and added newly built ones, including Sensoria Spa, adults-only dining venues and — my favorite oasis within Oasis — the outdoor terrace exclusive to Sian Kaan guests. Located just steps away from Sensoria Spa and Sensoria Champagne bar, the deck is where I enjoyed that aforementioned tropical drink (among many others) while lounging on a Bali bed with views of the sparkling water. Clients can also take a dip in one of the terrace’s many personal plunge pools, get a massage, enjoy butler service or just unwind in the warm Tulum sunshine.
When I’d hit my quota of zzz’s, I ambled down to the white-sand beach to sign up for a snorkeling tour (complimentary for Sian Kaan guests) and got a good workout following my guides along the coral reef. Clients can also grab snorkeling gear for exploration sans guides; however, advise them to stay close to shore or swim with a buddy, as the area’s riptides can exhaust even strong swimmers. Complimentary kayaks and paddleboards are also available, along with fishing and scuba diving excursions for an added fee.
The active set can also “earn” their relaxation at the property’s tennis courts or 24-hour fitness center; join a yoga, Pilates, Zumba or water aerobics class; or take a bike out for a spin. Those who would rather delve right into tranquility should book a treatment at Sensoria Spa; Sian Kaan guests receive 25 percent off services. And while treatment rooms are perfectly suited for pampering, I suggest requesting a massage over the ocean on the outdoor pier.
Sian Kaan does its best to make visitors feel that they are getting their money’s worth when it comes to the all-inclusive price tag. In addition to four restaurants, three pools, four bars, a beach club, nightly entertainment and live shows — all exclusive to Sian Kaan guests — those staying at the resort will enjoy room amenities including premium beverages, a personal concierge and butler, VIP check-in and checkout, 24-hour room service, a bottle of wine and a welcome amenity, a straw beach bag and a hat, a pillow menu, turndown service, a daily refilled minibar and a smart car rental (with an $8 per day insurance fee). Not to mention, they’ll also have access to Grand Oasis’ nine restaurants and eight bars.
Along with an upscale (and kid-free) ambiance, Sian Kaan’s four eateries offer enough variety and flavor for most palates: There’s Careyes for French-Mexican fusion; casual dining venue Cafe Del Mar; seafood and oyster bar Cocoa; and Mediterranean gastrobar The White Box — a concept brought over from Grand Oasis Cancun, where the restaurant earned a 2017 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice award. I spent a fair amount of time gulping down all varieties of seafood and shellfish at Cocoa, followed by a Manhattan at Martini Piano Bar in the lobby, where most of Sian Kaan guests tend to linger well into the night.
Although mostly couples are drawn to the resort — which, with its ample amenities, makes it easy for them to do nothing but stare into each other’s eyes — Sian Kaan is also well-suited for a friend getaway or a destination wedding. (O Weddings by Oasis offers multiple packages, along with customized services.)
Whether you’re booking two clients or 20, all Sian Kaan accommodation categories feature benefits such as a private terrace with a plunge pool or hot tub, or an in-room whirlpool, as well as L’Occitane toiletries.
I recommend a stay in a spa suite in the newly built wing, but, truth be told, I spent most of my time blissed out on that Bali bed, unencumbered by my typical vacation gear and feeling a little closer to heaven.